Excuse me, I'm German!

I have so much to say, I don’t know where to begin. Maybe I should start by saying that I have been living in Canada since 1999, April 21st to be exact, and I really like it. My life here is quite a bit different from how it was back in Europe, especially compared to Italy, but definitively in a good way. Of course, now with my family and all this, everything would be quite different even if I was still living in Tuscany, or closer to my parents, somewhere in Germany. I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that people here drink Rootbeer AND ENJOY IT. The peanut butter plus jam thingie wasn’t so hard, but the rootbeer… and the idea of dropping a scoop of vanilla ice cream into your glass of rootbeer, that’s just wrong!

I’ve been here for 11 years now, but Canada still offers challenges that I might not be able to handle. Rootbeer floats are just one of them. The fact that most Canadians enjoy camping and the outdoors in general, with activities involving flying objects (like softballs – which aren’t soft, btw), and beer drinking contests, is another. When I am on vacation, I need a bathroom. A proper one, with a toilet that has water in it and hopefully running warm water in the shower. I don’t think I’ll ever fit into the outdoorsy crowd, but I’m not too worried about it, actually. There needs to be someone who will stay behind to wave good-bye when everyone else is leaving with their campers and tent trailers and motor homes and fifth wheels….

Last but not least, there is the challenge with the proper formal greeting. I still haven’t got that one right. People greet me by saying, “Hello!” and then, after a few seconds, when you’re already think you’re safe, they add “How are you?”. So I reply saying something like, “Oh, hi, I’m not really doing all that great today. I have this aching in my chest and my eyes are watering like crazy.” Canadians do not expect this detailed up-to-date information on my physical well-being. They expect something more like “Fine, how are you?”, even when I do have an aching chest and watery eyes. They don’t really want to know how I am doing. They just mean to say Hello. And I know that, but I tend to forget, as – unfortunately for them – in the non-English speaking regions of this world, people do not ask you how you are doing if they are not sincerely interested in how you are doing. So if they ask you how you are doing, you tell them how you are doing, especially when you’re not doing so great. So, if they are not really and sincerely interested in knowing all about your latest concerns with your liver and kidneys, they don’t even ask you how you are doing. They will just say “Hallo!” or “Guten Tag!” or “Bonjour!”, or “Ciao!”, depending on where you are. Which makes it a lot easier just to say Hi or Hello in the morning when you get to the office and you’re not really feeling like you want to start a conversation about someone’s ailments.

Yeah, I know it’s not that hard. I’m still learning, ok?